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Kintsugi

金継ぎ

"gold-joinery"

The art of mending with lacquer and gold. 

Pour ceux qui recherchent des informations authentiques et de qualité sur l'artisanat kintsugi.

Chacun doit avoir sa raison unique pour laquelle il est tombé amoureux de cet artisanat traditionnel rare du Japon. C'est l'endroit idéal pour les apprenants sérieux qui souhaitent obtenir des informations authentiques du point de vue de l'artisan et de l'exécution. Nous ne proposons donc pas de philosophie romantique, pas de raccourcis, pas de kit de démarrage et pas de substitutions. C'est notre façon de montrer notre respect aux artisans japonais qui ont consacré leur vie à apprendre et à pratiquer ce métier. Ce centre est construit par des pratiquants et des enseignants kintsugi basés au Japon.

Nous sommes conscients qu'il y a beaucoup de pertes dans la traduction et de malentendus sur l'histoire, la méthode et les matériaux du kintsugi sur le marché. Nous comprenons également le défi pour les avocats à l'étranger d'obtenir des informations authentiques en anglais sur ce métier rare et de se procurer du matériel et des outils. Nous sommes tristes de voir de sérieux défenseurs étrangers payer une prime pour les travaux de kintsugi, des ensembles d'outils avec du matériel d'imitation.

En fin de compte, considérez-les comme des options et choisissez les méthodes et les outils pour vos propres projets kintsugi.

Pour nous, nous voulons fournir une véritable compréhension de cet artisanat ancien et gagner le respect des artisans qui ont consacré leur vie à apprendre et à pratiquer ce métier lent. Nous espérons que vous trouverez nos informations et nos efforts utiles pour votre apprentissage et votre pratique de ce métier, étant à des kilomètres du Japon.

Si nous ne vous avons pas encore perdu, lisez la suite ...

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"That" Broken Bowl 

How many times have you hear or read the generic story about a shogun sending an expensive broken bowl to China for repair and was returned with ugly staples, thus started the Japan's development of a more refined and artistic repair method call Kintsugi?   

 

THAT broken bowl has a name and a documented history.   

The Bakoban Bowl  馬蝗絆 めいばこうばん

The legendary bowl is named "Mei-Bako-ban"  めいばこうばん. It is a celadon porcelain bowl from the Southern Song dynasty.  The name Mei Bako-ban translates to "leech clamps".  This exceptionally high-quality bowl was gifted by a Zen priest from China to the Shogun in Japan in the 12th century.  As the bowl passed down to other clans in the 15th century, it was cracked.  Shogun Ashikaga sent a messenger to (Ming) China in search for a replacement.  However, China was unable to reproduce the same bowl with such quality glaze made from two hundreds years back. The Chinese artisan then repaired it with 6 metal clamps and titled the bowl "MeiBakoban", named after the 6 large metal clamps that looked like leeches.  At that time,  Ming Dynasty China (15th c.) already had a range of well-developed repairing and restoration methods.  Metal-clamping was well appreciated as a special aesthetics for high-value antiquities.

When Ashikaga received the repaired bowl, he was amazed by the aesthetics of the metal clamps. The clan had been treasuring this bowl for many generations. Marveled by the artifact and the story, Japan's Confucius philosopher Toto Ito 伊藤東涯 documented this story in 馬蝗絆茶甌記 ("an Essay on MeiBakouban bowl") in 1727.

This is a discourse from the common myth that "some shogun was appalled by the ugliness of the metal clamps and ordered Japanese artisans to develop new ways of ceramic repair leading to invention of kintsugi".  Rather, the level of technique, craftsmanship, the sense of aesthetics and appreciation from China at that time was also exceptionally advanced. 

 

In parallel, Japan also has long development in lacquer art and repair by Maki-e masters, with its own appreciation in style and aesthetics.  There were a lot of cultural exchanges and cross-referencing in ceramics and lacquer art between the 2 countries since centuries ago.   

note: Most Japanese historians adopted Bakoban's translation as "horse locusts" which is the literal translation of the 2 Chinese characters 馬+蝗, but it is actually mistranslating the chinese vocabulary "Ma-Huang" meaning leeches.

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The Bakoban bowl is recognized as Japan's National Treasure archived in Tokyo National Museum.  It is an important piece of ceramics history of Japan.   The bowl can be seen in the museum's digital archive here. 

We hope this will debunk the misunderstanding and dismissing of the clamp-repair method and shed some light on the "mythical" broken bowl that got sent to China for repair.   These "leech" clamps were appreciated as high-art BOTH in China as well as in Japan.  

Image rights ©National Institutes for Cultural Heritage

Coming soon

We'd love to hear from overseas kintsugi advocates

Let us know if you would like to build a kinstugi community with us.  Send us any inquiry about repairing your broken ware in Japan, share with us your kintsugi works, let's have dialogues about the practice.

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